DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt


Blog Birthday

Filed under: Blogaversary Posts — Tags: , , , , , — fred @ 13:50

Two Candles, 1982, painting by Gerhard Richter

Today, March 15, 2011, marks the second anniversary of the launching of Drawing Life.  I’ll celebrate the occasion with the above image from the German painter Gerhard Richter, a fearless artist who sees no contradiction in pursuing both pure abstraction and photorealism, as well as some of the territory in between.

More fresh content is coming to this blog soon, I promise, but for today we’ll take a look back.

On the first anniversary a year ago I posted a Top Ten Countdown, featuring sample images and quotes from the most-read (or at least most-clicked-on – you can’t tell if people actually read them!) posts of the first year of Drawing Life.  This year’s countdown list, starting at #10 and ascending to first place, is as follows:

10: Body Electric:  Walt Whitman

Old man, seven photographs, c. 1885, photo by Thomas Eakins

9:  Textural Bodypaint

Marbled Belly, 1991, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt

8:  Personal Painting

Green Moth, 2009, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt

7:  Fire in the Belly

Bright Seed, 2000, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt

6:  Reclining, Not Boring

Supine Arched (Madelyn), 2010, by Fred Hatt

5:  Pregnant Pose

SG and child pencil sketch 03, 2008, by Fred Hatt

4:  End-On:  Extreme Foreshortening

Strata, 2002, by Fred Hatt

3:  Womb of Art:  Paleolithic Masterpieces

Small paleolithic figurines, from left to right, vitreous rock from the Riviera, hematite from Moravia, mammoth ivory from Ukraine, and mammoth bone from Russia, figs. 121 thru 124 from The Way of the Animal Powers, by Joseph Campbell

2:  Drawing as Theater / Presence as Provocation:  Kentridge and Abramovic at MoMA

Drawing for II Sole 24 Ore (World Walking), 2007; Charcoal, gouache, pastel, and colored pencil on paper, Marian Goodman Gallery

William Kentridge, Drawing for II Sole 24 Ore (World Walking), 2007; Charcoal, gouache, pastel, and colored pencil on paper, Marian Goodman Gallery

1:  Rhythmic Line

Lounging Ryan, 2008, by Fred Hatt

(You’ll notice that two posts, “Pregnant Pose” and “Fire in the Belly” appear in both this year’s and last year’s lists.)

It’s clear that the main determinants of high placement are 1) links from external sites, and 2) correspondence with popular search terms.  Perhaps re-promoting the posts that already get lots of hits is kind of pointless, like policies that help make the rich richer, but I’ve already done it, so I’ll just supplement it with a little affirmative action – a list of neglected posts, way down near the bottom of the rankings, that I still think might be worthy of your attention.

13 Ways:  Wallace Stevens

My suite of paintings illustrating Wallace Stevens’ classic poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”.  I painted this series in 1982, as a young artist just beginning to try to find an adult style.

Blackbird XII, 1982, by Fred Hatt

Light and Stone

Experiments in lighting, using as a model a stone sculpture by Thomas W. Brown.  I learned about lighting as a film student, but an understanding of how light behaves and interacts with objects is a deep subject of study for any kind of visual artist.  This post doesn’t go into all the complexities of light, but it seeks to show how changing the angle of light transforms how we see an object.

Thomas W. Brown, Alabaster, 2004, photo by Fred Hatt, 2009, merge channels version

New Heads and Empathic Portraits

Two posts featuring my portrait work, including some of my favorite drawings.

Esteban, 2009, by Fred Hatt

Shadows and 3D or Not 3D

Two posts featuring my shadow-screen performance videos.  The key to my drawing and painting is its focus on energy and movement.  Here you’ll find me working directly with movement.

Still from "Convergence", 2010, video by Fred Hatt

I hope maybe these examples will persuade a few of my readers to go spelunking in the archives!  Happy birthday, Drawing Life – and readers, stay tuned for more images and ideas to come!  Thanks for reading, commenting, linking, sharing, “liking”, tweeting, and/or subscribing to the email feed.


Top Ten Countdown

Back Study #1: Convex, 2009, by Fred Hatt

Today, March 15, 2010, this blog turns one year old.  (Above, the first illustration from the first post, “Variations”.)

I have long shared my work with others largely through underground, alternative, and community-based venues.  In many ways, the blog has been my ideal gallery – virtually cost-free, accessible to all both near and far, open 24 hours, a place where I can share the full range of my work, my process, and my passions, without concern for whether anyone will buy, or whether a dealer thinks I’m diluting my brand.

I have long tended to put all my energy into producing work, rarely finding the time to edit and present that work, much less to sell myself or promote my career.  Feeling the need to post something here once a week or thereabouts has been a much-needed self-imposed deadline for me!

I thank those of you that post comments.  A sense of dialog sustains me.  It’s also been gratifying to pick up some fans in far-flung places, where they would have been unlikely to encounter my work in an exhibit.

In reverse order, here’s a listing of the top ten posts from the first year of Drawing Life.  These are the posts that have gotten the most hits, continuing to attract readers after they’re no longer on the front page of the blog, with a sample image and quote from each.  The titles link back to the original posts.

10:  Opening the Closed Pose

“The human body is as expressive when it is turned inward as when it is expansive or active.  The guarded nature of the crouch or fetal position shows vulnerability in a different way than the open pose.  The upper and lower parts of the body are drawn together, and the energy pattern becomes circular rather than vertical.”

Hanging Head, 2009, by Fred Hatt

9:  Shapes of Things

This post featured stereoscopic photographs, presented as anaglyphs, to be viewed with red/cyan 3D glasses.

“The compositional dynamics of a flat photograph are simple, their impact immediate and graphic.  A stereo image is more complex.  Looking at it, we feel we are looking through a window, perhaps into a world that has been miniaturized and frozen in time.  The eyes caress the forms or penetrate the space of the image.  Enjoy these images, then go out and revel in the spatial complexity of the world.”

Framework, 1993, photo by Fred Hatt

8:  Fire in the Belly

“Body painting is an ancient art of transformation, to make the warrior more terrible, the young mate more enticing, or the shaman more of a dream creature.  I have used it as a medium of discovery, exploring the landscape of the body and finding the forces that lie beneath the surface.  In the type of body art shown here, there is never any preconceived design.  As the paintbrush follows the natural curves of the body, it becomes a kind of divining rod, finding the quality of energetic pools and flows and manifesting them in visible form.”

Botanic, 2001, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt

7:  Painting with Light

“I first started experimenting with light painting in photography of models in 1990 or thereabouts . . . I was interested in the process because it bridged the gap between photography and painting or drawing.  As in painting, the image is created by manual gestures over a finite period of time, but instead of making pigment marks on paper or canvas, one makes light marks, through a lens, on a photograph.”

Smoke, 1996, photo by Fred Hatt

6:  Negative Space

“Clearly seeing negative space is about shifting the focus from presence to absence.  Finding the figure by looking at the negative space is one of the many artistic applications of the Hermetic principle  ‘As above, so below’ or ‘As within, so without’.  All reality exists on the cusp between interior and exterior, between past and future, or between any polarity you care to examine.  To draw is to surf on the points of contact.”

Stanley Folded, 2008, by Fred Hatt

5:  Anatomical Flux

This post featured drawings made at an artists’ sketch night event at “Bodies: The Exhibition”, a show of polymerized anatomical specimens.

“My favorite room in the exhibit is the one where blood vessels have been preserved and all the other tissues stripped away.  These figures look like my most manic scribbly drawings multiplied and exploded into three dimensions.  The arteries branch out treelike, the veins meander vinelike, and the capillaries are fuzzy like moss.  This quick sketch comes nowhere near the actual complexity of the specimen.”

Torse Vessels, 2009, by Fred Hatt

4:  The Spirit of Weeds

“In our uncertain time, everything seems to be breaking down.  Industrial civilization defines prosperity only as growth, but the limits to growth are looming everywhere . . . Such times will be hard for vast monocultures, and for hothouse flowers (and I do intend those as human metaphors).  Such times call for weedy spirits, for those that can find their earthly grounding even in the decaying manufactured world, and who burst with green power, determined to reassert the forces of life.”

Blue/Yellow/Green, 2002, photo by Fred Hatt

3:  Meanings of the Nude

“The image of the nude reminds us that we are our bodies, that sexuality and appetites and mortality are our very nature, and that the beauty of our animality cannot be separated from the beauty of our spirituality.”

Gustav Vigeland, figure from Vigeland Park, Oslo, c. 1930, photo by Simon Davey

2:  Pregnant Pose

“The roundness of the pregnant form is quite unlike the roundness of obesity.  The skin of the swelling belly and breasts is drum-tight.  The entire body is surging with life-force and all the muscles are toned.”

Fertile Structure, 2001, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt

And finally – drum roll, please – the number one post, the one that went viral on StumbleUpon and got twice as many hits as any other individual post of Drawing Life in the past year:

1:  Visual Cacophony

“New York City is like the rainforest, dense with competing and coexisting lifeforms . . . This kind of visual excess has an energizing effect on me, like wild music that’s dissonant yet exuberant.”

Doll Window, 2004, photo by Fred Hatt

Thanks to you, my readers, especially to the commenters, and stay tuned – I’m just getting started!

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